Ten years ago, this month, I got to Minna. I am not a memoir person, so I will go straight to the point.
Minna is like a valley, walled by hills on some sides. The city is very peaceful with very accommodating people. The city has its own pace, you cannot attack it with gra-gra and you cannot attract it with cunningness. Minna, unlike Lagos or Kaduna, is not a masked city. It has a bare soul and transparent essence. It is also malleable, but you can only mould it to your taste when you understand its texture and temperament.
At least 45 per cent of Minna residents are elites. Businesses survive in Minna at its own pace.
Population of the city is officially 304,113 as at 2007. An unofficial estimate indicates no increment in the population as at 2016.
Minna is capital of the north-central state of Niger, currently home to two former Nigerian heads of state, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar, both retired army generals.
1. NIGERIAN DRINKS FACTORY
Drinks like Zobo, Kunu and Ginger are produced locally here. We make these drinks in our various homes too. Any business establishment that will focus on semi-industrial production of these drinks will make it on the long run, especially with NAFDAC approval, hygienic production and good packaging.
2. SHOEMAKING/SHOE REPAIRING ARENA
We have cobblers that are unprofessional. They are senior almajirae. You can be fortunate if they do not spoil your shoes. Having a goo arena for shoe making and repairs will not be out of place. Residents have good and precious shoes with little faults, need for readjustment etc. When the place is running, all the almajirae cobblers will turn in. You can train them and make their stay worthwhile.
3. AUTOMATED LAUNDRY PLACE
Most residents have local laundry guys they patronize. Most inadequacies gotten from these guys are swallowed because there are no better alternatives. over-ironed dresses, torn clothes, missed buttons, among others. Laundry system can be better organized and you do not need 1million naira to commence. It will also be a source of engagement for youths.
4. AUTOMATED WHEEL BALANCING & ALIGNMENT SHOP
If we really want to get our wheels balanced and properly aligned with automated machines, we go to Zuba or Abuja. Whatever you do in Abuja will get affected when you run into Minna-Abuja potholes. An automated service will be cool in Minna.
5. COMPUTERISED VEHICLE SCANNING CENTRE
We have few mechanic workshops with vehicle scanners but most of these scanners are not hardware/software updated to do the needed job. Scanning your vehicle to determine the exact problem prevents misdiagnosis.
Apart from the refrigerated FanMilk or Supreme, the only Ice Cream machine in Minna is at Safara Foods. A good business venture can strike franchise deal with Dominos or start another Ice Cream brand of such exoticness. It will soar.
7. CHILDREN DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
Can we have some business dedication along the line of giving our children some basic training in coding, oratory, martial arts, creative writing, leadership, entrepreneurship, among other things. Minna is about elitism and parents are ready to allow their children to be trained.
8. ALMAJIRAE DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
A business venture can partner with the government and Council of Imams in the city in this regard. Government is ready to have this burden off its shoulder . It will be a business fun.
9. TRAIN TRANSPORT PARTNERSHIP
Minna is a railway city. Minnat – Kaduna/Minna-Lagos/Minna-Kano/Minna-Osogbo/Minna-Offa, etc. There are engines but very fe coaches. That makes Minna-Lagos once a week. Partner with Federal Ministry of Transport and/or the Nigerian Railway System to bring in or build coaches. You can never do bad with transport business.
I have a written business plan on this. I was on the verge of getting franchise from some leading cinema houses in Lagos and Ibadan. Then AMAB took my time. You may not need to build new cinema halls for a start. UK Bellow Arts Theatre will do a perfect job at the commencement. We drive all the way to Abuja to enjoy new movies. That is not fair! This is long-term but a cool business idea.